20-yr-old Paperboy in town

20-yr-old Paperboy in town
When Jonna Venkata Karthik Raja, a 20-year-old college-goer in Bengaluru, found his friends and classmates tongue-tied during relevant discussions, he dug a little deep to find that the problem came from lack of awareness about current topics.

That is when it struck to him that most youngsters today do not read the newspaper, because of which they are left pink-faced at crucial moments.

When he went around researching why they don’t read the newspaper, he found that school and college timings did not allow them access to the newspaper in the morning. And when he asked these 150 people if they would read the same newspaper if it was delivered digitally, on their respective mobile phones, pat came the reply, yes!

So, Raja launched Paperboy in February 2016, and spent at least six to seven months trying to convince and negotiate with publications to have them offer the electronic versions of their publications on Paperboy. Paperboy is a platform that offers digital publications of 200-250 Indian newspapers and magazines in both, web and app formats.

“The initial stages were very difficult for Paperboy. While the idea resonated with many, it was very difficult to get publications on board. There was a lot of hesitation across the industry. In fact, for the first six to seven months, there was absolutely no newspaper on Paperboy,” says Raja, adding, “But, slowly and steadily, the team was able to onboard some publications and now we have around 200-250 newspapers and magazines.”

Paperboy follows two types of business models in its partnerships with publications. With some, it has a revenue-sharing model while with the others a fee-based model. Moreover, most of the publications on Paperboy have also agreed to promote the app on social media, and with advertisements, he says.

Smaller markets first

In a slightly deviated approach, Paperboy started off market trials with Tier-II and Tier-III cities. “We believe that Tier-II and Tier-III cities house an emerging youth that is enthusiastic about exploring the Internet,” he said, adding candidly, “It may be just a hunch, but we think that the learning here will be extremely valuable.”

As of now, the company is focused on newspapers as it is an everyday essential. “At first, we had not even thought of launching magazines on the portal, but demand led us to onboard magazines as well. Especially women’s magazines such as Elle, Cosmopolitan and Sati offer huge market opportunity for us,” says Raja.

Paperboy also targets the avid traveller, who tends to lose out on local news while travelling. “People should not have to lose out on local news just because they are travelling. Not in today’s day and age. Paperboy will make it convenient for them to access their local edition while on the move,” he says.

The bootstrapped company has a team of 50-60 people. As this stage, Paperboy has witnessed around 1,000 hits on its website with about 10,000 Android installs and 2,000 iOS installs.

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